NASCAR: Kyle Busch wins Geico 500 Wreckfest

–by Mark Cipolloni–

When they finally stopped wrecking, and in a double attempt at an overtime finish, Kyle Busch in the #8 RCR Chevy won the Geico 500 NASCAR Cup race at Talladega over the four Fords of Ryan Blaney, Chase Briscoe, Chris Buescher and Brad Kesolowski.

Similar to yesterday’s Xfinity race, many cars went home Sunday wrecked.

They even wrecked on the last lap, ending the race under caution.  Busch had just enough fuel, running out on the cool-down lap.  If there was to be another restart he would have had to pit and would not have won.

Kyle Busch, driver of the #8 McLaren Custom Grills Chevrolet, and his son, Brexton, affix the winner’s decal to the winning car in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 23, 2023 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Busch and 23XI Racing driver Bubba Wallace exchanged the lead during the final two laps of the race but Wallace’s No. 23 Toyota was tagged by Ryan Blaney in the No. 12 Penske Racing Ford as those two vied for the lead just after the white flag flew, signaling one lap to go.

Wallace’s Toyota turned sideways, hit the wall and triggered a chain-reaction accident that eliminated several other of the front running cars while the two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Busch was able to continue forward and take his second win of the season and 62nd of this career. It’s Busch’s second career win at Talladega – the first coming 15 years (and 55 wins) ago.

“Sometimes you’ve got to be lucky, you know,” said a smiling Busch, who led only three laps in securing the RCR team its 13th Talladega victory. “Sometimes these races come down to that and you’ve got to take them when they come your way.

“The seas kind of parted there when they [Blaney and Wallace] went up the race track there,” Busch said. “They were trying to push-draft and these cars are just not stable enough to do that. I saw the 23 (Bubba Wallace) turn a little bit sideways, and I was like, ‘just get out of the way.’ “

“We have a great time being able to come out here and race; be a part of Team Chevy and Chevrolet and get this Camaro in Victory Lane,” said Busch who got added pleasure in knowing he beat all the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas. After Busch brought Gibbs so many wins and titles, Gibbs got rid of Busch to make room for his little grandson, Ty Gibbs.

Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Direct Toyota, and Aric Almirola, driver of the #10 Smithfield Ford, lead the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 23, 2023 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

The win is Busch’s second NASCAR Cup Series win of the 2023 season and his 62nd career win in NASCAR’s premier series.

Busch is now the third repeat winner in the series this season, joining fellow Chevrolet drivers William Byron and Kyle Larson.

The victory extended Chevrolet’s series-leading NASCAR Cup Series win record at Talladega Superspeedway to 44 all-time victories, including the past three races at the Alabama superspeedway.

“It’s just you get big runs and you take them when you can,” Blaney said, noting of the contact with Wallace, “I’m glad everyone’s okay, but in my mind you can’t make a triple move like that, a triple block. You can’t block three times, I don’t know, the runs are so big and as the leader Bubba’s (Wallace) trying to block, which is the right thing to do. But I think he kinda moved three times. I got to go somewhere. I hate for cars to get torn up and I hate for us to be so close to the win.

“I’m not blaming anybody. It’s just hard racing at the end of this thing and unfortunate that cars got torn up and we missed out on another win.”

Talladega often times provides some of the best, but most unpredictable finishes. Chris Buescher was on the right end of a chaotic one Sunday afternoon as he snuck his way through a final-lap crash to finish third in the Fastenal Ford Mustang.

“It was a good finish for our Fastenal Mustang,” Buescher said after the race. “It was not as much fun on the day as I expected. Just really hard to make any moves – lanes just stalled out, handing didn’t seem to come into play. I don’t know if it was temperatures or what. Just not as much movement as we hoped… just thought we’d have more opportunities there.

“Everybody worked hard and got us up there in the end. We had enough fuel, and threw some good strategy in there. We were in the hunt for it. I wanted to see the lap play out. I felt like we had a good run up-top, but looking back I don’t think we had any help either. I don’t know. At the end of the day, it was a good finish. The race itself wasn’t as much fun as I was hoping for, for us.”

Look at the bent and broken door bars in Kyle Larson’s car after being hit by Ryan Preece in a late wreck. Preece accelerated into Larson. Did he accelerate on purpose since he does not like Larson? If the hit was on the driver’s door Larson may have been killed.

Brad Keselowski carved his way through a pair of late-race restarts Sunday afternoon to finish fifth in the Castrol Edge Ford Mustang at Talladega Superspeedway.

“We could just never get track position,” Keselowski said after the race. “Felt like we had a car that could win this race if we could get to the front, but we could never get to the front with all the pit cycles and everything. It just kept cycling us back, and it was really frustrating.


“Towards the end when we got to the front, I feel like if the No. 23 didn’t spin, we were in a spot to win the race, pushing eight down the back-stretch. It’s just not the way the cookies crumbled.”

Race action returns next Sunday at Dover Motor Speedway, where Buescher earned the pole last spring. Race coverage Sunday is set for 2 p.m. ET on FS1.


Kyle Busch, No. 8 McLaren Custom Grills Camaro ZL1 – Race Winner Quotes

“Sometimes you gotta be lucky. Some of these races comes down to that, and you have to take them when they come your way. The seas kind of parted there when they went up the racetrack. They were trying push draft, and these cars just aren’t stable enough to do that. I saw the 23 just turn a little bit sideways and I was like, ‘Get out of the way.’ Just missed it and tried to see if I was ahead of the 12 when it was called. A great day for another new sponsor at RCR with McLaren Custom Grills. If you ain’t got a custom grill yet, these McLarens are pretty bomb so you gotta check them out. We have a great time being able to come out here and race and be a part of Team Chevy and Chevrolet and get this Camaro in Victory Lane.”

HOW CLOSE WERE YOU ON FUEL? “Well, it shut off here when I was trying to do a burnout so maybe it’s out. I went left instead of right. The fuel-pickup is on the right so maybe I ran it out. We were sweating it being close. I thought back to California and Fontana earlier this year where we have a win, and I’m like we have to gamble. We’re up here, you have to take the track position when you have it and go give it what you can on the restart and see what happens. Lo and behold, it worked out.”

Kyle Busch, driver of the #8 McLaren Custom Grills Chevrolet, celebrates with his team in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 23, 2023 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

MORE ON THE WIN: “You never know what’s going to happen, right? We had the track position and had the opportunity to be up front there. Short on fuel, you just don’t know so you take that chance. Luckily I thought about it, and I’m like, ‘We gotta take the chance.’ That win at Fontana really opened that door for us today. If we didn’t have that, I felt like we would have to come in to get some fuel to get points. You know, I guess I’d rather be lucky some days and we were certainly that today. It feels good to see the seas part finally and me squeeze through and not get torn up in a couple of those wrecks late. Thanks to McLaren Custom Grills. Appreciate them, another new RCR partner for us this year. It’s awesome to get them up to Victory Lane. I hope their website is blowing up right now and they’re getting a lot of likes and selling some grills. We need all the help we can get. Our sport is doing well but things can always be better. We want to see full fields of sponsored cars.”

HOW WAS YOUR DAY BEFORE THE LAST LAPS? “Every time I got near the front, I got shuffled. That’s about what happens in these restrictor plate races for me. There in that last lap, Bubba Wallace was helping push and getting us out there and getting us to the lead. I got a little too far out, and I knew they were going to have a run so I was like, ‘You know what… take the run. We’ll see what happens in the next corner.’ Lo and behold they got crossed up. Sometimes you’re quiet sometimes and you just kind of squeak one out.”

WINNING FOR RCR WITH RICHARD CHILDRESS AT THE RACE: “It’s awesome. I know they’ve had a lot of superspeedway love for a long, long time. One of the best to ever do it was obviously one of the winningest ones. It’s fun to be able to come out here and be a part of this team and work with Randall (Burnett, crew chief) and all my guys. Pit stops today were fine. We were never really in a position to push hard, but we got everything to go our way and came out on top.”

Race Results (Final)

Fin Str No. Driver Team Laps Led Status
1 17 8 Kyle Busch McLaren Custom Grills Chevrolet 196 3 Running
2 5 12 Ryan Blaney Wurth Ford 196 47 Running
3 10 17 Chris Buescher Fastenal Ford 196 0 Running
4 4 14 Chase Briscoe Mahindra Tractors YOG Ford 196 1 Running
5 20 6 Brad Keselowski Castrol Edge Ford 196 2 Running
6 24 43 Erik Jones U.S. AIR FORCE Chevrolet 196 3 Running
7 18 24 William Byron Liberty University Chevrolet 196 1 Running
8 6 20 Christopher Bell Rheem Toyota 196 0 Running
9 22 99 Daniel Suarez Tootsies Orchid Lounge Chevrolet 196 5 Running
10 28 36 Todd Gilliland gener8tor Skills Ford 196 0 Running
11 38 51 JJ Yeley(i) Jacob Companies/Biohaven Ford 196 0 Running
12 29 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 196 18 Running
13 27 48 Alex Bowman Ally Chevrolet 196 8 Running
14 32 77 Ty Dillon NationsGuard Chevrolet 196 0 Running
15 33 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Kroger/Cheez-It Chevrolet 196 0 Running
16 13 45 Tyler Reddick MoneyLion Toyota 196 0 Running
17 1 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Freight Direct Toyota 196 7 Running
18 37 78 BJ McLeod B’laster Chevrolet 196 1 Running
19 26 31 Justin Haley LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet 196 0 Running
20 36 15 Riley Herbst(i) Monster Energy/Mechanix Wear Ford 196 0 Running
21 11 4 Kevin Harvick Mobil 1 Ford 196 11 Running
22 2 10 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 196 11 Running
23 23 1 Ross Chastain Moose Fraternity Chevrolet 196 3 Running
24 31 62 Austin Hill(i) Realtree Chevrolet 196 0 Running
25 34 7 Corey LaJoie Celsius Chevrolet 196 0 Running
26 15 2 Austin Cindric Menards/Duracell Ford 196 0 Running
27 7 19 Martin Truex Jr. Bass Pro Shops Toyota 196 19 Running
28 12 23 Bubba Wallace Columbia Sportswear Company Toyota 195 35 Accident
29 19 16 AJ Allmendinger Farmsmart Chevrolet 195 0 Accident
30 8 22 Joey Logano Shell Penzoil/Autotrader Ford 195 3 Running
31 3 54 Ty Gibbs # Monster Energy Toyota 194 4 Fuel
32 30 42 Noah Gragson # Wendy’s Beef is in the Bag Chevrolet 189 1 Accident
33 9 5 Kyle Larson Chevrolet 189 0 Accident
34 16 41 Ryan Preece Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford 189 2 Accident
35 21 34 Michael McDowell Love’s Travel Stops Ford 189 0 Running
36 25 21 Harrison Burton Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford 183 11 Accident
37 35 38 Zane Smith(i) Wellcare Ford 141 0 Accident
38 14 3 Austin Dillon Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet 141 0 Accident



8 3 3
12 9 47
14 1 1
43 1 3
24 1 1
6 1 2
99 2 5
78 1 1
9 7 18
11 2 8
48 3 8
4 2 11
10 3 11
1 1 3
19 4 19
23 6 35
22 3 3
54 3 4
42 1 1
41 1 2
21 3 11




1 1 #34 Incident in Turn 4
2 42 45 #14 Stopped on PIt Road
3 60 14 Stage 1 Conclusion
4 120 22 Stage 2 Conclusion
5 141 14 #3, 21, 38, 42 and 62 Incident in Turn 3
6 183 78 #7, 15, 21, 22, 24, 47 and 99 Incident in Turn 2
7 189 62 #1, 4, 5, 10, 41, 42 and 54 Incident in Turn 2
8 195 #2, 6, 16, 19 and 23 Incident in Turn 2
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